The big picture
We need at least one serious-looking diagram. Here it is:
The bottom line is this: I help companies find and develop the sweet spot where Market Need overlaps with Organisational Capability and Economic Viability.
In other words, I help them to chart a map of the best places to search for treasure (high-growth opportunities), and then help them find it.
It’s like being a tour guide for treasure hunters. Or pirates. Arrr!
Below, you’ll find a lengthy description of HOW I go about doing this. If you are in a huge hurry, you might enjoy the version of this document for very busy people.
How I help you to find your treasure
Commercial concept development is an iterative process. My steps are detailed below, more or less in a conceptually linear order. The actual application, however, is rarely linear. Steps may be revisited as more detail become available, and some steps may be concluded before others. For instance, it is often better to get an idea funded (Step 5) before embarking on the brunt of the design and development process (Step 4). This is especially true in large projects, where design and development might cost millions.
To make things a tad more interesting, I have mapped it to an actual treasure map, such as might be used by pirates.
This page is now available as a fun, printable PDF!
Stage 1. Captain’s Bay
What I do: Strategy consulting
When people work together towards the same goal, great things become possible. There is no better way to get everyone rallying behind a cause than to make them part of the story. I help leaders to craft and tell compelling stories that show where they are today, where they must head tomorrow, the best way to get there, and the perils that they will face along the route.
Stage 2. Scout Cove
What I do: Opportunity search and screening
I help leaders discover and uncover underserved market needs, and relate those to their competitive capabilities.
This includes various forms of research2, and requires that I introduce an open (for whole-company participation) and transparent (no black boxes) method for finding and screening ideas. Getting the whole organisation involved like this may seem like an unnecessary effort, but pays dividends in employee buy-in and strategic alignment down the road.
A note on great ideas
You may already have strong ideas about the opportunities that you want to develop. I strongly encourage everyone to go through all map-making steps, regardless. At the very least, it presents you with additional data points. At best, it gives you a feature-complete toolset for finding and developing high-value opportunities, and weeding out poor investment decisions before they happen.
Stage 3. Mount Hephaestus
What I do: Prototyping, testing, economic modelling, and opportunity selection
I help clients to prototype, test, determine the economic viability of3, and select the best ideas for final development. How I go about this is entirely programme-dependent, but typical activities include:
- ideating, developing and pretesting initial ideas;
- prototyping the most promising ideas;
- testing each prototype;
- modelling and analysing the economics of the concepts; and
- selecting the best concept based on all the data points gathered during the mapmaking process.
Suggested Article: Looking for project funding? Make sure you have wrangled the numbers…
Stage 4. The Shipwright’s Field
What I do: Managing the design and development process
Great design in whatever form—graphic, industrial, architectural, UX, or strategic—can inspire belief in a concept like almost nothing else. I work with leaders (and their agencies) to create the systems, artefacts, spaces and experiences—online and off—that takes an idea from prototype to perfection.
Stage 5. The Golden Mile
What I do: Capture strategy, bid preparation and management
Most ideas are dead when their sponsors fail to secure the funding, or win the business, that they need to continue. Winning at this game is predicated on three things: a great concept, a solid strategy for pursuing the bid, and oodles of credibility.
Developing great concepts is what this document is all about. But merely having a great concept does not go nearly far enough. In fact, I would venture a guess that many horrible ideas get funded because the teams driving them have a plan and seem credible, than the other way around.
I help clients to communicate the most professional, credible, and needs-aligned image possible, based on a carefully planned and executed capture/bid/funding strategy.
I also prepare the necessary documentation (such as standard bid documents, funding applications, technical and financial submissions) and supporting documentation (such as business plans, directors’ profiles, and executive summaries), and generally take care of the hundreds of other details that go into preparing a complex bid or funding application.
Stage 6. Trader’s Rock
What I do: Market entry strategy, launch planning
Once the concept has been developed, the business won, and the funding secured, all that remains for me to do is to complete the marketing strategy and launch plan.
X Marks the Spot!
If all goes well, clients find the treasure (a roaringly successful commercial concept) exactly where I told them it would be. This, coincidentally, is also how my fee structure is set up: with the bulk of my earnings (usually) dependent on their success.
Frequently Asked Questions
What industries do you have experience in?
I have delivered projects in industries as diverse as:
- Banking and Financial Services;
- Commercial Property;
- Higher and Further Education;
- Health Care;
- Media and Publishing;
- Professional Services;
- FMCG, Hotel and Hospitality;
- Fashion and Beauty; and
If your industry is not listed, don’t sweat it. I take on novel projects all the time. It is part of why I love my job. What is more, the tools and techniques that I have developed translates very well from project to project and from industry to industry.
How do you charge?
I charge both consulting fees and success fees. Consulting fees are based on time worked. Success fees are based on the value of the project, and are payable as the project’s funding tranches become available. A generic fees schedule is available upon request, but every project is scoped and estimated in detail.
Can you build me a fast and responsive website like this one?
Why, yes. Yes, I can…
See the web development services page for more detail.